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United Nations Daily Highlights, 08-08-25

United Nations Daily Highlights Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United Nations Home Page at <http://www.un.org> - email: unnews@un.org

ARCHIVES

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NOON BRIEFING

BY MARIE OKABE

DEPUTY

SPOKESPERSON FOR SECRETARY-GENERAL BAN KI-MOON

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK

Monday, August 25, 2008

BAN KI-MOON CONGRATULATES CHINA FOR 'SPECTACULAR' OLYMPIAD

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

congratulates the Government and people of China on their unprecedented effort and success in hosting the historic Olympic Games in Beijing.

China can be proud of hosting a spectacular Olympiad, which brought together athletes and people from all over the world in celebration of the Olympic spirit, cooperation and goodwill.

The 2008 Summer Games provided an important opportunity for the promotion of international peace and harmony through deepened dialogue and mutual understanding within the international community.

UNITED NATIONS GRAVELY CONCERNED ABOUT REPORTED DARFUR CAMP CLASH

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, Ameerah Haq, says the United Nations is gravely

concerned about the reports it received this morning of Sudanese police vehicles surrounding Kalma camp housing internally displaced persons in South Darfur. Subsequent reports of the attacks that followed within Kalma have resulted in injuries and deaths of civilians.

Such actions severely threaten the safety and security of civilians who have a right to protection under International Humanitarian Law.

The United Nations urges restraint and calls for the immediate establishment of a humanitarian corridor so that the injured may be evacuated.

Kalma is home to 80.000 internally displaced persons, most of whom are women and children.

The African Union-United Nation mission in Darfur (UNMID) has sent police and military patrols to the camp location to confirm the incident and lend any assistance needed. UNAMID leadership is extremely concerned by this serious incident which circumstances will be investigated. It is closely monitoring the situation and call on all parties to exercise restraint.

Meanwhile, UNAMID reported banditry by Janjaweed militias at two other IDP camps in West Darfur and inter-tribal clashes in a village in South Darfur.

AFGHANISTAN: UN ENVOY CALLS FOR PROBE INTO REPORTS OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Afghanistan, Kai Eide, has

issued a statement on reports of civilian casualties in western Afghanistan.

Dated Saturday, the Special Representative says he learned of conflicting reports that large numbers of civilians may have been killed during military operations in the Shindand district of Herat province.

It is vital that this incident is investigated thoroughly and quickly to establish the facts of what has happened before we jump to any conclusions, he says. The United Nations has always made clear that civilian casualties are unacceptable, that they undermine the trust and confidence of the Afghan people."

He said he instructed his office in Herat to offer every assistance to the provincial authorities as well as to establish and verify the facts. Any civilian casualty, is one civilian casualty too many. And every effort that can be made - must be made - to ensure the safety and welfare of the civilian population where military operations are conducted, he said.

U.N. SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE SADDENED BY INDISCRIMINATE KILLING OF CIVILIANS IN SOMALIA

The Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Somalia, Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah,

says he is saddened by the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians and the resulting displacement of residents of the town of Kismayo. He believes that control of the port of Kismayo and the revenues it generates are the main reasons behind the brutal fighting.

Ould-Abdallah also said he was deeply saddened by the large number of casualties in the August 16 and 17 gun battles in Afgooye and Mogadishu. The fighting displaced some 2,000 people.

The Special Representative called on all parties to the conflict in Somalia to respect international human rights and humanitarian law, and to stand by their commitments under the Djibouti agreement.

UN SPECIAL ADVISOR HEADS TO INDONESIA FOLLOWING MYANMAR VISIT

The Secretary-Generals Special Adviser, Ibrahim Gambari, has completed his visit to Myanmar, as we reported over the weekend.

Today in Bangkok, Mr. Gambari met with the Prime Minister of Thailand for one hour where they held extensive and constructive exchanges of views on the current situation in Myanmar as well as the way forward in support to the Secretary-General's Good Offices. In the afternoon, Gambari also met with the Thai Foreign Minister.

He is currently en route to Indonesia, where is he scheduled to meet the President and Foreign Minister.

Asked if Mr. Gambari did not meet with Aung San Suu Kyii because the government did not allow it or because she rebuffed the UN envoy, Okabe said that it was Mr. Gambaris intention to meet her, as he did on all his previous visits, and the Government made arrangements for such a meeting. To his regret, the meeting did not take place.

We are not going to speculate as to why she was not able to attend the meeting, but Mr. Gambari did meet her party twice, she said adding that Mr. Gambari impressed on both the Government and the National League for Democracy the need for early resumption of dialogue and made specific suggestions to that end.

Okabe said, in response to another question, that Gambari planned to brief the Secretary-General on the outcome of his mission after its completion.

Asked if the trip could be considered a failure, Okabe replied that Mr. Gambari has had extensive and open discussions with Government other interlocutors, which in itself is necessary in order to deepen and broaden the process, as expected by the Secretary-General.

She added, We have been saying all along that the Secretary-Generals Good Offices is a process, not an event. One should not make judgment on the process based on each individual visit. The Secretary-General himself has made clear upon returning from his own visit that he expects his good offices to deepen and broaden through the continued engagement of his Special Adviser.

Asked if the outcome of this visit made it even likelier that the Secretary-General would travel to Myanmar, the Spokeswoman said that the Secretary-General had made it clear in the past that he would return to Myanmar if and once the conditions are right for such a trip.

UNITED NATIONS CALLS ON NEPAL TO FREE CHILDREN FROM ASSOCIATION WITH MAOIST FORCES

Radhika Coomaraswamy, the Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, has

called on the Nepalese Authorities and Maoist army to immediately free all children previously associated with the Maoist forces.

Last year, the Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) and UNICEF identified more than 2,900 children under the age of 18 in the ranks of the Maoist Army.

Ms. Coomaraswamy said those children are still in the Maoist cantonments and must be released immediately in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

SOUTH ASIAN NATIONS MEET IN BANGLADESH TO DISCUSS CLIMATE CHANGE

All this week in Bangladesh, more than 300 experts and policy makers are meeting to discuss ways South Asian countries can incorporate adaptation to climate change into their national development agendas.

The event is organized by the World Meteorological Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, among others.

A predominantly agricultural region, South Asia has large populations that depend on semi-subsistence agriculture, which is susceptible to changes in temperature and precipitation.

NEW SENIOR OFFICIALS ARE SWORN IN AT UN HEADQUARTERS

Five senior officials were sworn in this morning during a special ceremony in the Secretary Generals office.

Patricia OBrien, the new Legal Counsel and Head of the Office of Legal Affairs; Alain Le Roy, Under Secretary General for the Department of Peacekeeping Operations; Warren Sach, now in charge of Central Support at the Department of Management; Jane Holl Lute, Assistant Secretary General for Peacebuilding support; and the new Controller Jun Yamazaki took their oaths of office this morning.

OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS

SECRETARY-GENERAL TO MEET WITH SECURITY COUNCIL TOMORROW: Asked for a reaction from the Secretary-General on announcement by the Georgian President that he will continue to seek to integrate South Ossetia and Abkhazia into Georgia, Okabe said that while no meetings or consultations were scheduled on this matter today, the Secretary-General and the Security Council members would be gathering tomorrow for their monthly luncheon during which a wide range of issues are usually discussed.

BAN KI-MOON CLOSELY FOLLOWING INDIA-PAKISTAN ISSUE: Asked if the Secretary-General has been in touch with the leadership of both India and Pakistan over the crisis in Kashmir, the Spokeswoman said that Ban Ki-moon was following the situation closely.

SOME 30,000 AFFECTED BY SOUTHERN CHAD FLOODS: An estimated 30,000 people have been affected by floods in southern Chad, where 10,000 people having lost their homes. Thats according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. OCHA says it is working with the Government to bring life-saving assistance to those in need as soon as possible. So far, the World Health Organization has delivered an initial stock of emergency medical supplies. UNICEF is helping with mosquito nets, as well as water kits and high-protein biscuits. And the Food and Agriculture Organization is working to assess the damage to agricultural production.

U.N. PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS IN WEST AFRICA MEET TO REVIEW REGIONAL AND NATIONAL CHALLENGES: Today, in Guinea-Bissau, the heads of UN peacekeeping missions in West Africa are meeting to review regional and national challenges to the implementation of their mandates.

They will also discuss the latest developments in the sub-region since their last meeting and will take up recommendations of last weeks Monrovia meeting of UN Force Commanders in West Africa. Participating missions include the Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), the Mission in Cote dIvoire (UNOCI), the Office for the Consolidation of Peace in Guinea Bissau (UNOGBIS) and the UN Office in West Africa (UNOWA). A guest speaker at the meeting will be the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Mohamed Ibn Chambas.

THE EMMY GOES TO THE INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION: Our congratulations goes to the International Telecommunications Union has won an Emmy Award. The prize honours the ITU and two other international standards organizations for their work on producing an advanced video coding standard. That technology enables high-quality video to reach everything from mobile telephones to High Definition televisions. The prize was awarded Saturday in Hollywood.

Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

United Nations, S-378

New York, NY 10017

Tel. 212-963-7162

Fax. 212-963-7055


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